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Countdown begins for ChillyFest

It’s countdown time for Linden’s first annual ChillyFest. Set for Friday and Saturday, festival organizers are making the final preparations.

“We are getting a lot of entries so far for the parade, chili cookoff and marketplace,” said organizer Bruce Ward. “This is the time for people to go ahead and jump on board to participate. The deadline to enter is Wednesday.”

Ward said 12 cooking teams have signed up to test their recipe in the chili cookoff.

“It should be very interesting,” Ward said. “Some of the recipes are very original and vary so much from each other.”

The teams will be cooking chili early Saturday morning at the Linden fire station, and will continue through the day until they are judged at 1 p.m.

Visitors to the festival will get a chance to taste all of the chili concoctions.

ChillyFest will actually begin the day before, on Friday at 3 p.m., with the opening of a two-day carnival by C&M Midways, located on the front lawn of Linden Elementary School.

At the same time, vendors will be set up downtown at Gazebo Park and start selling a variety of unique items, many homemade.

“They will have a wide range of items for sale,” said Ward. “There will be homemade soaps, body sprays, kudzu baskets, cedar porch swings, hematite jewelry, Burning Rock candles, wooden Alabama and Auburn footballs and a whole loot more.”

There will also be a slew of food vendors selling anything from the traditional funnel cakes to sushi-on-a-stick.

Caroling at the city’s Gazebo Park in the heart of downtown will begin at 4 p.m. with a tree lighting ceremony at 5:30 p.m.

This will be followed by what is expected to be one of the area’s largest nighttime Christmas parades, the Parade of Lights. It will leave Scott Park at 6:30 p.m. and make its way towards the gazebo, where it is expected to arrive around 7 p.m.

“So far, we have over 20 floats entered, and possibly two marching bands,” said Ward.

The Linden High School marching band will make its debut appearance in the Linden Christmas parade, but there is a possibility the marching band from Thomasville will be in the parade.

The night will be capped off by a professional fireworks show at 9 p.m.

Saturday morning will begin with the first annual Chilly Chili 5K run and 2-mile walk at 9 a.m., followed by the kids’ fun run at 10 a.m. It will weave through the downtown area, beginning behind the fire station.

The carnival cranks back up again at 10 a.m., along with a slate of local and regional entertainers providing music throughout the day.

From 1 to 3 p.m., the big man himself, Santa Claus, will be in town and will be making himself available for all good little boys and girls. The kids can get their picture with Santa and make sure they place their Christmas order.

A car show will also be held throughout the day with judging car show at 2 p.m.

“This promises to be a great assortment of classic and newer model cars for everyone to admire,” said Ward. “Anyone wanting to enter the show needs to call Schroeder Body Shop at (334) 295-5058.”

For more information about the festival, go to the city’s Web site at Follow the links to the ChillyFest information. You can also call Ward at (334) 295-4121.

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